How to Charcoal Grill the Perfect Tuna Steak

How to Charcoal Grill the perfect Tuna Steak.

How To Cook the Perfect Tuna Steak
Here in San Diego, we don’t usually need AC, but for 6 weeks a year, we suffer from the torching 85 degree temps. We get only the mildest of sea breezes at night, and we are forced to jump into the pool when we get too hot, when the temperature peaks all the way up to 90 degrees.

My little guinea pig even comes into the house when we go over 85 degrees. He complains bitterly about his relocation, but he squeals with joy when he returns to familiar territory. One of my first wood work projects was to build a California style, pool side, luxury cage for him. With two sleeping quarters. One small and dark and very secure for night safety. The second in the day time retreat area, for small naps between feeds. Inside the daytime retreat section, is the dining area with look out post and easy access to the sprinting zone.  A 12 foot hidden run under a giant rosemary bush.  There is also a second feeding area at the end of this zone for south wing dining.

Now To Grilling
I love to grill because it keeps all the mess and heat outside. Not being skilled at grilling, I decided to find out how to become a master of the grill. I have since found out the keys to perfect grilling and I am giving them to you today. Here is another grill recipe to try, BBQ Tandoori Style Stuffed Mushroom Kebabs.

So what are the keys, to grilling the perfect tuna?

  1. The freshness of the fish.
  2. A Clean, seasoned grill.
  3. The right temperature.
  4. How long you cook the fish.
  5. The marinade – This can be as simple as seasoning and a squeeze of lemon.

Fresh Fish
Even if you get frozen fish, it can still be fresh. Unless you are in an area where the boats come in daily, we have to rely on frozen fish. I will personally only eat freshly caught, wild fish, but it is usually frozen. Many of us are not close to a fresh fish supply, so a good frozen fish source is the fist thing to find.  Most of the fresh fish in the store is frozen on the boat and then defrosted just before it is sold. So fresh, often just means frozen but defrosted.

Clean Grill
Clean the grill off every-time you use it. I like to season it with a heat stable oil, like canola, so it becomes non-stick. You can season your grill by coating your grill with vegetable oil and baking it in the oven (stove) for 10 minutes on 350 degrees. Repeat this two or three times. I do this when I season my cast iron pans.

Grill Temperature
What is the right temperature? If you can hold your hand over the grill for 4 seconds, you have the perfect temperature. Give the coals at least 10 minutes to heat and make sure they are glowing red.

How Long to Cook Fish
If you want your fish medium cooked, then cook for 4/14 minutes on each side. Use a timer so that the guess work is taken out.  You may need a little less time if the thickness is less than 1/1/2 inches.  If you want it rare, cook for 3 /12 minutes. If you want to exercise your jaw muscle, cook for 5-5 1/2 minutes.

You can keep the marinade simple. I like to coat the fish with a good oil, walnut or virgin olive. Crush mounds of garlic on the oiled fish and then rub with a seasoning.  An hour before you serve the fish, squeeze on some lemon. Leave this to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours if you can. Or for a super flavorful marinade, you can try my Red Pepper, Garlic, Sweet Paprika BBQ Sauce.


Grilled Tuna Steak With Cucumber, Tomato and Basil Salsa
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tuna Steak per person
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • Grilling Seasoning Blend - Or mix your own - Paprika red chili flakes, chili powder, brown sugar, salt, onion flakes, any combo you like.
  • 2 - 4 Jumbo Garlic or regular
  • Fresh Dill - Optional
  • Lemon Juice
  • For The Salsa
  • ½ Onion Diced
  • ½ Cucumber Diced
  • 1 Cup Baby Cherry Tomatoes - Halved
  • 1 Tbs Capers
  • 1 Clove Crushed Garlic
  • Chopped Basil - To Taste
  • Splash Olive Oil
  • Splash of Wine Vinegar
  1. Wear gloves if you prefer...
  2. Wash the fish and rub oil over the entire steak.
  3. Cover fish with crushed garlic.
  4. Cover Fish with seasoning.
  5. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  6. hour before cooking, squeeze some fresh lemon onto fish.
  7. Heat grill to med high (so you can hold your hand for 4 seconds above the grill).
  8. Add oil to grill using a brush or napkin.
  9. Cook fish on one side for 4/1/2 minutes, then turn and cook the other side.
  10. For the Salsa
  11. Mix everything in a bowl and chill until served.
Serve with Cucumber, Tomato and Basil Salsa.

How to Charcoal Grill the perfect Tuna Steak

Marinating Tuna
How to Charcoal Grill the perfect Tuna Steak.


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